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Defense roles being reviewed by American and Japanese

Date Posted: 2005-03-25

Defense roles and realignment of the U.S. military presence in Japan were key topics in Washington this week as Japan and the United States began meetings of defense and state department leaders.

At issue is the future of America’s military presence in Japan, and development of “common strategic objectives” which would make America’s role in Asia more relevant by adjusting missions and capabilities. Tokyo is facing stiff opposition from some quarters on cutting the number of Americans on its turf, while beefing up the internal Self Defense Forces.

Washington wants come quick changes to the status quo, and has proposed reaching a new agreement within six months. A key issue is a controversial plan to shift the U.S. Army’s I Corps Headquarters from Fort Lewis, Washington to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture. There’s also interest in moving night landing training for aircraft carrier pilots away from current sites to Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

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